Intelsat Could Sign First EpicNG Deals in Asia Later This Year

[Satellite News 08-15-12] FSS operator Intelsat is now actively talking to customers in Asia about its new EpicNG open architecture platform and hopes to land contracts in the region before the end of this year, Intelsat Regional Vice President of Asia Pacific Sales Terry Bleakley told Satellite News.

   “At the moment, we have started discussions. I would say at the later part of this year, or early next year, you will see us make announcements in this area,” said Bleakley. “We will be speaking with media players, cellular operators, those who are operating large corporate VSAT networks and mobility players.”
   The Intelsat EpicNG c platform will utilize C-, Ku- and Ka-bands, wide beams, spot beams and frequency reuse technology with the aim of providing a host of customer-centric benefits. Designed as a complementary overlay to the world’s largest fixed satellite network, Intelsat EpicNG will be fully integrated with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet and global IntelsatONE terrestrial network.  
   The operator is optimistic that the EpicNG platform will give it an edge in the region. About 30 percent of Intelsat’s global business comes from video services. In the Asia Pacific region, Intelsat’s business is split almost 50/50 between video and network services. Bleakley said the company would be talking to video players in Asia to see if Intelsat EpicNG will help them penetrate new markets.
   “In India, for example, there are over 600 licensed channels. Many of these are regional channels with specific language requirements. One of things we can do with Intelsat EpicNG is that we can uplink them from a media hub and downlink channels only in the beams specific to where they will be watched,” said Bleakley.
   Asia has always been an important target region for Intelsat, targeting deals with telcos and mobile operators. Market data recently published by Cisco predicts IP data rates will more than double to around 75 Exabytes per month by 2015. Much of this growth will be on mobile devices and a good portion of this growth will come from Asia, said Bleakley, who stressed that Intelsat is well situated to understand the nature of the region’s needs.
   “We have launched a number of new satellites in the Asia Pacific market and we are very close to both telecoms companies and the media players,” said Bleakley. “In markets like Malaysia and Indonesia, customers have tended to shy away from Ku-band solutions, but we are seeing an acceptance of this band in recent years as they consider the rain fade factor. With our ability to serve these areas and provide options of C-band spot, Ku-band spot and Ka-band spot or a combination with frequency re-use across all bands, we believe we are in the best place to serve their growth need. We will match the band to what best suits the customers application.”
   Asia’s Internet and mobile penetration statistics show signs of potential growth, especially when combined with the region’s increasing demand for mobility offerings. Bleakley believes the EpicNG platform will help Intelsat have a deeper penetration with customers and be less on the edge of customer networks.
   “We believe the new networks we are going to develop will be able to provide significant amounts of capacity,” he said. “Traditionally, satellite has been at the edge — the last 3 percent of connectivity. What we can see with Intelsat EpicNG is that we can move deeper into the network. We can be more than that last 3 percent. We are talking to the Ericsson’s, Huawei’s and Cisco’s so they understand about our technology, so they can build into their interfaces and into their protocols, the unique features that we have. With the new generation of satellites coming into service in 2015 and 2016, we can provide significant capacity to support these next generation 4G/LTE networks.”
   Looking more specifically at VSAT networks, Bleakley said Intelsat has many customers who operate networks that consume a significant amount of capacity, with some of the networks utilizing more than 200 Mhz of capacity.
   “As you could imagine, it takes quite some effort to support a VSAT network that needs 200 MHz of capacity on a single traditional satellite,” said Bleakley. “So, with Intelsat EpicNG, this VSAT network can now do all of this on one satellite instead of, say, three. This, in turn, reduces the cost of the network with no longer the need to support three teleports for the three traditional satellites.”

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